This was my teacher Maezumi Roshi talking, after he learned that I had a certain relationship of a certain kind with a certain guy.
And so this guy motored down to the Zen Center in Los Angeles for tea with me and Roshi on New Year’s Eve 1993. When he arrived, my guy took off his shoes, according to the custom, stepped into the tiny kitchen and we made awkward half-bows all around.
“I hear you’ve been living in Sierra Madre,” Roshi says to the guy.
“Yes, I’ve lived there for 15 years,” the guy responds, relieved perhaps at an opening question he can answer.
“What are you doing living in that dinky little town?” Roshi’s face crinkled up in a tease.
I stepped in-between to buffer the unexpected turn in this august encounter. “Roshi, do you know Sierra Madre?”
“I was a gardener there when I first came to America.”
My friend never found his shoes again that night. It was terrible. He drove home in his socks stewing about some terrible Buddhist that stole his Reeboks. But after the terrible shock of Roshi’s death the next year and after the guy and I said I-do some time after that, after a terrible year married and living terribly apart – me home in Texas and he staying put – after another terrible year married and living terribly together – he moving in and me staying put – after a terrible time deciding what to do about it, after a terrible day looking at pretty terrible places to rent for a not-too-terrible price and for not too-terribly long, because we weren’t so terribly sure we would stay, we found ourselves in a certain garden, in fact the very garden, in Sierra Madre, breathless and still with the stunning arrival in a story that was suddenly ours.
Can you believe it? Can you believe it about your own life?
Trust your life as it unfolds.